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Technical Brief

LI QUI D PROCESS FI LTERS GRAVER TECHNOLOGI ES 1-888-353-0303 www. graver t ech. com
What is the main purpose of a carbon filter?
Carbon filters are best at removing chlorine, taste, odor, color
and various other organic compounds from the fluid. They are
generally not effective at removing inorganic compounds or
other contaminants such as microbes, sodium, nitrates, fluoride,
lead, heavy metals and hardness. Specialty carbon filters are
available for removal of cryptosporidium and giardia cysts from
drinking water (CarbTEC CYST+).
How do carbon filters work?
A carbon filter is made from activated carbon and its primary
function is the chemical adsorption of contaminants and
impurities. The activated carbon in the filter also has a pore
structure and so particulate removal is accomplished as well.
What is activated carbon and how is it made?
Activated carbon is made from a variety of carbonaceous base
materials such as coal, coconut shells, peat or wood. First the
base material is exposed to high temperatures in an oxygen-
deficient environment to carbonize the material. The carbonized
material is then activated by exposing it to an oxidizing agent
at high temperature. The activation process creates the three-
dimensional nooks and crannies in the material that provide the
adsorptive sites and high porosity.
What is adsorption?
Adsorption occurs when a molecule is chemically attracted to a
material surface and attaches to it, thereby becoming trapped.
What affects the adsorption in the filter?
Adsorption usually increases as pH and temperature decrease
since at these conditions many organic chemicals are in a more
adsorbable form. Exposure time is also important to ensure
adsorption. Reducing the flow rate through the filter increases
the contact time between the chemical contaminant and the
carbon, thus improving the removal rate.
What is extruded carbon block?
Extruded activated carbon filters consist of virgin carbon
powder, a thermoplastic binder, and speciality adsorbents such
as zeolites or oxidizing filtration media. The filters are
manufactured as continuous lengths of rod, tube, slab, flexible
flat sheet, or as other complex shapes using a proprietary solid-
state extrusion process. The resulting products are highly porous
and extremely uniform, providing high-performance adsorption
and particulate reduction at low flow resistance when
fabricated into finished filter elements. Extruded activated
carbon filters meet exacting performance requirements and/or
claims, and specific models are registered as meeting the
requirements of NSF International.
What does NSF Certification mean?
NSF or National Sanitation Foundation International is a
product certification organization. A filter that meets NSF
material requirements has been certified to not leach chemicals
in excess of established standards. All the filter components are
tested during the evaluation.
What advantages does an extruded carbon block filter
have over a granular activated carbon (GAC) filter?
CarbTEC extruded carbon block filters will outperform
conventional GAC filters in almost every application because of
the higher adsorbent capacity and contaminant reduction, low
pressure drop, high dirt capacity, elimination of carbon fines,
higher integrity and strength, and overall ability to produce the
highest possible effluent quality. All of these high-quality
attributes are achieved by a process that is more automated and
productive than any other solid carbon manufacturing process.
1. Radial flow direction Water flows through an extruded
filter element in the radial direction (from the outside of the
filter element to the inside). As a result, the entire exterior
surface of the filter is presented to the incoming fluid, not just
one edge of the filter as in a GAC filter. With the GAC filter,
fluid flows at high velocity through the entire length of the
filter, often about 8 inches of carbon. In an extruded filter
element, the fluid flows slowly through the approximately
inch of wall thickness. While the contact time between the
fluid and carbon are basically identical in both cases, the
extruded element displays almost ten times less pressure drop
when the adsorbent particles are the same size. Together,
these two effects result in a total reduction of pressure drop
of almost 100 fold so that an extruded carbon filter
manufactured with fine powdered carbon displays essentially
the same pressure drop at a given fluid flow as a GAC filter
filled with coarse particles of activated carbon.
2. Blowout of GAC is eliminated Extruded activated
carbon filter elements are structurally rigid and of great
strength. If the filter element is clogged by particulate
contamination, the carbon cannot be released to the
downstream water. Extruded filters can withstand higher
levels of pressure than most GAC filters, without collapsing.
In some cases, clogged GAC filters can blowout and
release activated carbon into the product water.
3. No release of carbon fines Extruded filter elements do not
release activated carbon particles (gray water) during start-
up or operation. Extensive flushing or activation of
extruded filter elements is not required. Some GAC carbon
filters will release carbon fines even after the filter elements
have been in service for an extended period of time.
Carbon Filter Questions and Answers

4. No channeling, fluidizing, or bypassing Extruded filter
elements cannot channel, bypass, or fluidize because
extruded carbon is a rigid structure that prevents movement
of the adsorbent particles or the formation of channels and
defects in the adsorbent structure. GAC filters consist of loose
beds of particles that are often loosely packed into a non-
rigid plastic tube. Bypass of the carbon is common because
the plastic container often expands away from the carbon
when under pressure, leaving a sorbent-free zone. At
sufficient flow, the entire bed will fluidize and the integrity of
the adsorbent bed will be lost. GAC filters cannot be
operated in a horizontal arrangement because the carbon
will settle, leaving an open channel along the top of the
What other advantages do CarbTEC extruded carbon
block filters offer?
Low binder content and high dirt capacity CarbTEC
extruded carbon blocks provide great physical strength, that
is entirely free of attrition and media migration, retains
nearly the full capacity of the original activated carbon; and
displays the best possible dirt holding capacity and low
pressure drop. This is made possible because only a small
amount of thermoplastic binder is used in the extrusion
process about one-half of what is used in a molded
carbon block. Low binder content results in low carbon
fouling (essentially negligible), maximizes the porosity of the
extrusion, resulting in the lowest possible flow resistance and
the greatest dirt holding capacity. Extruded carbons have
24 times more dirt capacity than conventional molded
carbon blocks and often do not require protection by a
prefilter. CarbTEC filters have one or more layers of melt-
blown and spun-bonded polypropylene filter media on the
exterior surface to provide the best possible prefiltration of
the incoming fluid.
Explain how CarbTEC filters are installed
CarbTEC filters come with double open end caps and can be
installed in single or multi-round filter housings designed to
accept double open end filters. At this time no other end
configurations are available.
What are some of the target applications for CarbTEC
Carbon filters are extensively used to remove chlorine, taste,
odor and organic contaminants from water.
In the manufacturing of soft drinks, beer, bottled water, it is
essential to remove chlorine, taste and odor contaminants from
the feed stream water so as not to impact the characteristics of
the final product.
Carbon is used to remove unwanted odor or color compounds
from glycerin, remove unwanted color from fruit juices and to
debitter food products.
Distilled Beverages
Carbon filters can be used to filter organic impurities from
vodka and whiskey. Since the activated carbon does not bind
well to alcohols, the percentage of ethanol is not significantly
affected, but the carbon will bind to and remove many organic
impurities which can affect color, taste, and odor.
Metal plating/Purification of electroplating solutions
A variety of organic chemicals are added to plating solutions to
enhance the process. Over time, due to passage of direct
current and electrolytic reactions of anodic oxidation and
cathodic reduction, the electroplating chemicals become
contaminated with unwanted organic byproducts and metal
finishing residues. Their excessive build up can adversely affect
the plating quality and physical properties of deposited metal.
Activated carbon treatment removes such impurities and
restores plating performance to the desired level. Check
compatibility of the plating bath chemistry and temperature
with the polyethylene binders used in CarbTEC filters
Carbon is effective for color removal from liquid
chemicals such as Tannic Acid*
Carbon is effective at removal of organic contaminants
from liquid chemicals* such as:
Cadmium cyanide
Hydrochloric acid
Phosphoric acid (<40%)
Soda Ash
Sodium chloride (Brine solution)
Sodium Nitrite
Sodium tri polyphosphate (STP)
Zinc acid, Zinc acid chloride
* Always obtain detail on all fluid components and contact us to confirm
compatibility with polyethylene binders used in CarbTEC filters.
This CarbTEC filter is Tested
and Certified by NSF International
against NSF/ANSI Standard 42
for material requirements only.
TB-007 3-09